Mindset Is The Key To Meeting People In Real Life

Most single people I know are fatigued from online dating. The online dating situation is increasingly bad because of crappy algorithms and the general unnatural nature of online dating. Yet, when I suggest getting off apps and meeting people in real life is the way to go, they start explaining the “obvious” reasons why they have no way to meet people in real life. They generally have no real-life social networks, very few extended friend groups, and don’t have a lot of single colleagues at work. Yes, I’ll grant these are common realities and not excuses.

woman sunrise freedom breaking chainsSo, I often suggest things that seem obvious to me, like trying to meet the cute co-worker they’ve been eyeing for months. Or, making a deeper connection with the server or cashier they see a few times a week. Maybe even finally talking to that guy or gal they’ve had their eye on at the gym. I’ll even recommend starting a conversation with someone standing next to them in line.

Typically that’s when the excuses come out. You can’t ask servers out…they are working! You can’t talk to someone at the gym…they are there to work out! You can’t date someone at work, that would get awkward if you break up later! You can’t talk to someone in line….that’s just weird and creepy! And, so on…

I’m well aware that there are many challenges to meeting people in those circumstances, but most people just stay in their limiting mindsets and end up taking the view that “I hate online dating but meeting people in the real world is too challenging or scary so let me get back to the arduous task of online dating which I hate more than just about anything.”

So, I want you to move from a limiting mindset to a more abundant mindset, where you take charge of your reality. These suggestions may seem bold, but that’s a good thing, because if you’re single or haven’t met someone you deserve, then boldness is what you need!

The first mindset principle is:

Meet whom you want to meet

I’m going to assume for the purposes of this post that you aren’t creepy, aren’t a criminal, aren’t going to harass someone, and will take “no” for an answer. If I’m assuming wrongly, then you need to work on those issues before reading the next few paragraphs.

What I’m saying here is that if you see someone that interests you, talk to them. I have clients who have created a world where nobody is approachable. They are around attractive and nice people all the time, but won’t talk to them. There’s no wall or fence, except created by their mind.

Yes, you can flirt with a server, especially ones you see all the time. I’ve gotten contact information from multiple servers and cashiers. Some turned out to be great friends and a few turned into dates.

Yes you can talk to people at the gym. While some of us are mainly focused on working out, most of us also are more than happy to make a little chitchat with a cool person. If you see them outside the gym definitely go up and talk about the gym (this has happened to me many times).

Yes (unless workplace ethics or policy stop you) you can attempt to date a co-worker. It’s very common, and if you break up, it may be awkward, but that’s better than being lonely and depressed.

Yes you can talk to that person sitting next to you at the bar or the cute guy reading your favorite book at Starbucks. Just say “hi” and smile if you can’t think of anything remotely clever.

And yes, this means that with this mindset you aren’t limited only to the people on dating apps! Feel free to literally jump for joy right now that your mind has expanded beyond that.

You may be thinking “yesssss!” But then that limiting mindset comes back…”but won’t people think I’m weird??” This brings me to principle number 2:

Meeting people in the real world is fun and normal

Many people consider meeting others in the real world to be difficult and weird.

It can seem overwhelming, like you’re violating a huge social norm. The effort seems high too: you have to introduce yourself, have a conversation, and then “shoot your shot” by asking for contact information. I’ve worked with guys who made millions in risky investments and have been skydiving multiple times, but who practically fainted at the thought of talking to a stranger.

Courses available from Double TrustImagine if you’re at the grocery store and you see a cute person wearing a T-shirt with your favorite band. You want to say something, and may even be fantasizing about a life spent with them. But, now think about actually approaching them.

If your first thought is fear, that’s pretty normal. However, if you also think “that’s ridiculous! Nobody meets people at the grocery store!” then you have a limiting mindset.

Ask yourself this: what’s really so weird about complimenting a cute person on a shirt that indicates you’d have something in common with them? Let’s say you go up to the guy and say something. He smiles and you talk. You ask for his number. He politely declines because he has a girlfriend. You both go on your way.

Ohhhhhh the horror! Ohhhhh the weirdness. Oh wait….

There is literally nothing weird about any of that.

In fact, at the end of the interaction you can be proud you not only had the guts to talk to someone you wanted to talk to, but you got a chance to talk to someone with a common interest. And, it probably flattered him, and your grocery trip was far more interesting than other days (you’ll be telling your friends about it!).

Here’s what is weird: not talking to that cute guy, and instead fantasizing about what could have happened for hours. Then, you get on OK Cupid, hoping you see him on there. When you don’t, you instead sort through 20 guys you don’t like at all and feel dejected and frustrated all night.

If you still don’t believe me, this fascinating study showed that people who talk to strangers are happier than those that don’t. And, get this: people who were talked to by strangers were also happier. People only resist doing it because they assume others won’t like the interaction, even though others do!

This brings me to abundant mindset principle number 3:

Rejection isn’t the end of the world and can be fun

A few days ago my friend approached a group of women who were walking, and said “I just had to say that you all are adorable!” They all froze and gave a “deer in the headlights” look. He tried to save the conversation, but it was over. The awkwardness was obvious. That approach had worked about an hour earlier for him, but this time it didn’t.

So, he left the interaction sad, with his head down, and vowed never to approach again…


kissing couple taking selfieWe actually both started laughing. His exact response was “dude, you have to go up to some women and say that because that was the best feeling in the world! That was hilarious.” I’m sure we’ll even talk about it the next time we meet.

Indeed, in the game of life, rejections make the best stories. You’ll talk about the rejections, and laugh at them, years after you’ll be talking about the successes.

If that’s too much to believe, then make it a game, since games are fun. Go out with your single friends and see who can get rejected the most: the winner buys the drinks. What most people who play this “game” find is that you hardly get rejected at all. When your goal is to get rejected, you suddenly realize rejection isn’t a big thing, which increases your confidence, ironically making you less likely to get rejected in the first place.

I hope the previous principles have expanded your mindset, and this one does too:

The “luckiest” people I know are always meeting people

I was reading a story a few weeks ago about a woman who was on a bad tinder date. A guy a few tables away saw the interaction and approached the woman after the date. He said “it looked like you weren’t enjoying that date. If you’re free, we should go out soon and I can show you a great date.” She was so impressed she agreed.

Someone in the comments section mentioned how “lucky” that guy was to be there when a woman was having a bad tinder date.

While that aspect was pretty lucky, that’s where “luck” ended and his mindset took over. Most guys would probably never have noticed the date was going badly. They would have been buried in their phones. Most guys would have considered approaching that woman to be “inappropriate” and maybe even told themselves “she just wants to be left alone in this moment” or “she doesn’t want some stranger bothering her at a time like that.” And, most guys, if they did approach, likely wouldn’t have had the guts to ask her out. So was this guy “lucky?”

No. He had the right mindset. The woman had the right mindset too. She easily could have just wallowed in her frustration with the Tinder date, and in the moment of angst, told the guy “no” even when she wanted to say “yes.”

In the past whenever I saw a couple I was jealous of, I would say “that guy lucked into that relationship!”  My 20-something jealousy was obvious.

Lucky? Yeah, lucky enough to have seen a woman sitting alone and talked to her. Lucky to have approached the new person at work right away while other co-workers were figuring out how many days would be “appropriate” before approaching. Lucky to have asked the cute guy at the gym how to use a machine, even though she knew how to work it all along. Lucky enough to have kept her phone in her purse when she was out in public, so she could talk to people. Lucky to have meandered out to the dance floor even though he wasn’t a perfect dancer, while his friends stayed at the corner of the bar afraid.

See what I mean?

So you “can’t meet people in real life” and “have to use dating apps?”

It may just be all in your head.


About the Author

David Bennett

David Bennett

David Bennett is a relationship expert, and has been a dating and relationship coach for over 8 years. He is listed in the top ten personal coaches for 2019, and is the author of seven self-help books. He has been featured in over 400 publications and other media appearances, including The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, Men's Health, Bustle, Prevention, and Woman's Day.

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